By Cpl. Park, Min-jeJune 6, 2017
USAG YONGSAN -- Soldiers, civilians, retirees and their dependents from all across the Pacific region who were interested in playing softball came together Memorial Day weekend for the 27th Annual Pacwide Men's & Women's Softball Tournament, May 25 to 29, at Lombardo Field, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan.
The tournament was an opportunity for Army community members all over the pacific region to unify and enjoy themselves.
"I really loved the moment when all teams from Asia, China, Hawaii, U.S. and players from around the globe come together to enjoy the games," said Timothy Higgs, recreation chief at USAG Yongsan's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
This year's tournament was special in that it would be the last time it took place in Seoul. The softball tournament started in the Philippines in the early 1970s. At that time it was called the San Miguel Softball Tournament. USAG Yongsan then took over the tournament and had hosted it every year since 1991, when the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines resulted in restricted travel to the area.
The event kicked off with homerun derby, May 25, where approximately 30 people showed off their softball skills, hitting as hard as they could.
Following the opening ceremony May 26, more than 180 games were played all day and night for four days. A total of 38 teams participated in the tournament, divided into three groups: the men's open, men's intramural, and women's open. The tournament implemented double elimination to reduce the chances of strong teams being terminated early.
Even though some of the players had flown a long way from overseas, they did not lose their willingness to play. They displayed great sportsmanship overall, abiding by the rules and showing teamwork, playing their hardest.
"I really loved playing in Yongsan. I played as hard as I could, and had a great experience," said Staff Sgt. Preston G. Griffin, a member of Joint Task Force (JTF) team from Japan.
Shortly after all the games completed, the awardees of each division were announced at the award ceremony. The awardees were presented with a plaque. The JTF team, winner of the Men's open tournament, was announced the overall champions, beating the former champion American Region.
Higgs said his heart was sad and heavy, having been around for several of the 27 years of Pacwide at USAG Yongsan. A new era in Pacwide would start next year at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys because of transformation and the relocation.
"This tournament, the largest of its type within IMCOM Pacific, has over the years grown, and many players, coaches and fans who love the sport of Slow Pitch and, Men and Women's Softball have over the years looked forward to the Memorial Weekend Tournament, sharing in camaraderie, team building and enhancing friendships," Higgs said. "I am hopeful USAG Humphreys will carry the game forward for 2018 and beyond."
Below are the main results. (Winners to the left)
Winner's bracket final JTF vs POUR HOUSE (26-17)
Loser's bracket final American Region vs POUR HOUSE (13-8)
Final Game #1 JTF vs American Region (19-9): JTF won Men's Open tournament.
Winner's bracket final SINBIN vs Unwanted (17-9)
Loser's bracket final Unwanted vs Embassy (16-9)
Final Game #1 Unwanted vs SINBIN (13-6)
Final Game #2 Unwanted vs SINBIN (14-3): Unwanted won Men's Intramural tournament.
Winner's bracket final Gyeongnam vs Yokota (8-6)
Loser's bracket final Yokota vs Osan (11-1)
Final Game #1 Gyeongnam vs Yokota (11-9): Gyeongnam won Women's Open tournament.